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    Mobile grooming is one of the most exciting and unique sectors of the grooming industry. Some groomers would never groom any other way. Here are leads to some of the most popular mobile conversion companies and articles on mobile. First, here are our sponsors that make this Industry Resources section possible. Thank you for supporting our sponsors.

    This Industry Directory may include additional companies below that are not advertising sponsors. To apply for a complimentary basic listing click here. Pet grooming businesses are not listed here. See www.findagroomer.com for a free account in the Find A Groomer Directory for Pet Owners.

    Mobile Grooming Vehicles On Transport Canada Preclearance List of Recognized Vehicle Importers

    Granger, Indiana, November 19, 2010

    Wag’n Tails Pet Stylist Elite, Pet Pro Van and Wag’n Tails Trailers have been placed on the preclearance list by Transport Canada, the Canadian government vehicle importation governing body. On 2007 models and newer, Canadian customers are able to easily import Wag’n Tails vans and trailers into the country because the border crossing checkpoints have these three Wag’n Tails models on their lists.

    Transport Canada administers 57 acts and regulations enacted by Parliament that govern all forms of transportation in all Canadian provinces.

    “This is important because it removes any obstacles in bringing our vehicles into Canada” said Dennis Gnetz, Wag’n Tails President. “Our Canadian customers can now breeze through customs on both sides of the border with us being added to the Transport Canada preclearance list” Gnetz added.
    Wag’n Tails spent a great deal of time and expense to get on the preclearance list to facilitate their rapidly growing customer base in Canada and the surge in inquiries and purchases of new and used Wag’n Tails mobile grooming vehicles in Canada.

    “Wag’n Tails has always had an excellent presence in Canada so our addition to the preclearance list significantly streamlines the entire process for our customers bringing their vans into Canada. Being the only grooming van manufacturer willing to put forth the effort to be on that list demonstrates our commitment to serving the Canadian market” Gnetz concluded.

    Ford and Forest River factory warranties and Wag’n Tails unprecedented 5 year/60,000 mile conversion warranties also transfer with the vehicles when imported to Canada.

    To see Wag’n Tails listing at Transport Canada’s website, go to:

    Mobile Efficiency by Ellen Ehrlich from her GroomWise Blog, http://groomwise.typepad.com/go_mobile_and_succeed/

    When you’re grooming in a mobile vehicle time is of the essence. I’ve always said as soon as I enter my van the clock starts ticking and it’s true. Since I became a mobile grooomer Father Time has taken on a whole new meaning. Every moment counts.

    I have developed a few simple routines that work very well for me in the van.

    Having everything you need right at your fingertips is key. Since my van has such a limited amount of storage, I only have room for the tools and supplies I need on a day-to-day basis. Every so often I go through my drawers and shelves and take stock of what I have. At the same time, I clean, wipe and blow out the hair that always seems to find a place to hide. Nothing feels as good as looking though your belongings and finding everything neat and organized.

    At every appointment I always run a bath before I get the dog. I lay out all the tools I need. This includes shears, clippers, blades, SS combs, brushes and ear powder. When I bring the dog into the van I put a bow on the collar right off the bat. Then I buff the nails and pluck the ears if need be - then right into the tub.

    Maybe this sounds a bit OCD but I like to stagger my chamois and towels next to the tub. This way, when I reach for them, I don’t have to restack the pile. I like neat. Right next to the tub I have my hoodies, flea combs, a rubber curry, a deshedding brush and cotton balls. I love the pumper that releases the ear cleaner when you press a cotton ball on top. It keeps you from missing a beat as you go through the grooming process.

    I feel that drying is the biggest challenge in a mobile van. It is a huge time eater. We all know the trick of using towels; one to catch the water as we HV the dog: having the dog sit on a dry towel to absorb even more. I place the dryer nozzle right on the skin, blowing the water away from the dog and into the towel as I gently rub. I use the highest speed the dog will comfortably accept. A hoodie on the head works great absorbing water as it buffers the dryer noise and keeps the forced air from blowing into or near the ear canal. I like to let the long floppy ears hang out of the hoodie so I can dry them along with the rest of the dog. My goal is to dry that dog 95% while still in the tub. I hate finding wet or damp spots when I start the fluffing process. That will slow you down immensely.

    I have a grooming routine that I follow that works well for me. I always groom the face first for two reasons. It seems more natural to me because I am looking right at the dog. The second reason I like to start with the face is because it gives me the opportunity to take a second look when I am done grooming the body. We have such a limited amount of time with our dogs that we need to make the most of it. Having a second look is important. After the face I trim the ears and tail because sometimes these parts can be an afterthought.

    I groom every head with a cordless trimmer and snap on combs. If the dog is small or doesn’t need much trimming I stay with the trimmer. If not I switch to my full size clipper and vac system. I use on the vac on every dog that gets a full haircut. This is a must have tool in a mobile van. It means less clean up for you, gives a great finish for the dog and keeps you healthy as it sucks up the hair as you clip.

    Do not be afraid of a vac system. When I got my van I had never used one before but I jumped right in and used it on the first dog on my table. There are just so many benefits. Start out with a longer blade or snap on comb, keeping in mind, the vac will take the hair shorter because the suction is pulling the hair closer to the blade. This is a valuable tool for mobilers. Once you get the hang of it you’ll wonder how you lived without it.

    After the haircut I look at the dog. Then I put my dryer on low and blow the hair around. I look for sticky outies. I comb it up and look again and snip. Sometimes, I’ll go over the dog with my cordless trimmer with a comb attachment to just take off the fuzzies. I use as long a comb as possible. Remember, I am not cutting cut into the hair. Just removing any stragglers that I’ve missed.

    I do put things away and clean as I work. I vacuum up the hair after I’ve used the trimmer. I’m big on multitasking. Everything gets put right back into its place when I am done using it. After the dog is finished, I vacuum one more time. When I take a look around everything is organized and ready for the next appointment. When I return the dog to the house the van needs to be presentable just in case somebody walks by and wants to take a peek inside.

    The biggest time saving tip is developing your own grooming routine. Do what works best for you! There is no right way and no wrong way. Working systematically will give you the best results and even save you time at the end of the day. Remember, if you can carve ten minutes off each groom each day you can groom another dog or get home one hour earlier!

    by Dennis Gnetz, Wag'n Tails Mobile Conversions
    © 2001 Dennis Gnetz Wag'n Tails Mobile Conversions All Rights Reserved
    Published here with the permission of the author.

    What is the best way to route your van? The most important thing to consider is why would you change your existing system. The goal is to organize your routes so you can minimize your fuel cost and maximize your profits without inconveniencing your customers.

    First of all you must find a logical way to organize your customers. It can be by area, phone prefix, zip code, etc. If you have a computer program like Microsoft Outlook it would allow you to group your customers according to any of these variables. This program can also provide a way to print labels and send information to your customers.

    After you have categorized your customers into a specific area the next step is setting up your appointment times. Here is an example of a typical schedule:

    8-9 1-3
    9-11 2-4
    11-1 3-5

    If you have a faster schedule where customers are close or you have multiple pet households:

    8-9 11-1
    9-11 12-2
    10-12 1-3

    The whole premise behind this is to not to set a time in stone that will disappoint your customer. As we all know there are so many things that can take more time on any given day. You should not have to limit yourself to a specific amount of time per pet.

    To avoid miscommunication with your customers it is a good idea to send a written reminder of their appointment a week ahead. In addition, it is a good idea to call the customer the night before. Remember, your average customer leads a very busy lifestyle and it is easy to forget your appointment.

    When you started your mobile business you probably worked on Saturdays or maybe even Sundays. Now that you have a customer base built it may be difficult to change the expectations of your customers. Setting your customers expectations in the beginning is very important. Yet, if you have to change do it in small steps.

    by Dina Perry, Wag'n Tails Mobile Grooming Conversions
    © 2001 Dina Perry - Wag'n Tails Mobile Conversions All Rights Reserved
    Published here with the permission of the author.

    This is a sure sign of success. Usually the statement is made to me when you are so busy you can’t see straight. You’ve taken every client you can and have fired all the ones you don’t want. What to do? First, if you’re that busy make sure your prices are high enough. Raise your price and sit back and select your clients. Choose customers who are scheduled every 4 weeks or less. Get rid of the biters! Now life is good.

    This is the point a lot of you are at after a few years, some in a few months, and the new clients are still calling. If you seriously want to start a fleet, or just a second van you need to remember just how hard good groomers are to find. Why did you go out on your own? Money, freedom, security? This is what you will need to provide to a qualified groomer to find and keep them. If your prices are low, they can’t make a great income. So check that out first. You can easily give a mobile groomer 60%, of the grooming charge, if you have a service charge you keep along with your 40% of the grooming charge. This could never be done in a salon. Think about it. The groomer makes 60%, at least 10% more than a salon, and hopefully the price is a good 10 to 20 percent higher in the mobile for grooming. After all, in a mobile the pet gets one on one service. The very best should cost more than the assembly line. Make sure you give a groomer benefits if they need them. Most HMO’s cost around $100.00 to $150.00 a month for a single person under 35. It’s well worth the cost and will help keep good people. Be flexible on days and hours. Remember that’s one of the reasons you aren’t working for someone else. Do make sure they understand appointments are made and never canceled. Nothing loses a client faster then a cancellation.

    Lynn Edwards, a client of ours from New York State had great idea. She had been in business less than a year and she was swamped. She said at least half of her clients were B&B’s. Goldens, Shelties, Yorkies, labs, and etc. She could teach a person to B&B (Brush and Bath) in a few weeks. If they quit and she had two payments it would only take a short time to find and train a new Bather. Good Thinking Lynn! If you have a groomer out there and they quit. Ouch!! It could take months to find someone qualified.

    The best idea for multiple units is to have your first unit paid for or to know the person you hire is not going to leave. Many of my clients are now family businesses. The money is great, the job a breeze with only the best clients on the books, and your spouse or mate is looking at you with envy in their eyes. A daughter or son is thinking this looks pretty good to them. These people don’t leave without notice.

    A young man from California once called inquiring about a new van to replace his aging one. He told me he worked very hard for five weeks and took the sixth one off. He always had time for the “honey do” list his wife had saved for him, or a 10 day vacation. This young man had thought out his life. He had found the best of the job, flexibility and freedom. Smart guy.

    If you don’t have a person you know well to fill a second van than maybe the best bet is to pay off your first one and then get the second. Cori, a young client from Michigan told me she was 3 payments ahead. I was extremely proud of her. Make double payments and in no time you can have a second van. If the groomer quits and it takes a few months to fill the spot with the right person. No sweat, you can make one payment very easily.

    When writing this I am assuming the person reading it is not able to invest $50,000.00 into a new van in cash. If that were the case, the suggestions would be quite different. A fleet of mobiles is a very profitable enterprise when well run . I will write an article for you soon about how to pay your employee. Stand by.

    To summarize:

    Make sure you are charging enough to provide you and a groomer with a good profit.

    Think about the B&B'er van.

    Pay off your first van by making double payments, then you can breathe easy with only one payment.

    Look for people you know and trust to fit into your business.

    Pay them well, find out what they expect from the job, and provide it.

    Take a look at the Mobile Groomer Round-up at Groom Expo 2009...

    It's great to see the talent of our GroomerTALK members. Here are some pictures and comments Wbeatty posted to the GroomerTALK forum.

    Wbeatty's Comments: Before I put the topper on I thought I would show off the set up. Specs: 2700 amp hours at the 20 hour rate, thats running everything, hot water heater, vac, clipper vac, clippers, ac unit, pumps and HV dryer for 10 hours straight and using 48% of the juice. It charges in 8 hours. 7.999 hours on a sunny day with the solar cells. At 50% the gen set kicks in and assumes the load so I don't over discharge the batteries. So far it hasn't started yet.